This last week we had the opportunity to facilitate our own usability tests with a peer.
After all that we have studied through the course work, it was time to apply it. For me, the experience was fun, and although I felt prepared and organized, I was also a bit nervous. As a facilitator it is hard not to help and point the user in the right direction in order to complete tasks. In order to gain measurable results in a usability test there are many steps and preparedness that you must have prior to testing, its is art.
How to Test I recently read an article featured on Nomat that clearly identified the ways to facilitate and conduct a usability test. The introduction explains that although facilitating a usability test is not difficult there are differences between good and bad tests. These differences will have a direct affect on the validity and the effectiveness of your ending test results. Although not “difficult” the article encourages practice in testing and mastering the “art” may take years.
The ART The article lists and identifies very real circumstances in which you will run into while testing and explains how best to handle them. Starting with a well written prepared script to explain the process to the test participants. By explaining what is expected and getting to know the tester it will build a mutual trust.Clearly state boundaries and expectations. Deflect questions, resist the urge to lead the participant in any direction. Become comfortable in silence, as it is necessary to avoid cross talk or encouragement in either direction. And lastly listen to what the test participant says, repeat what they have said to make sure you have understood what it is they are trying to say.
This was a really good article and it stream line the most important and valuable information concerning usability testing in a very straight forward and supportive way.
Usability test facilitation: 6 key skills. (2014, October 08). Retrieved March 04, 2017, from http://www.nomat.com.au/usability-test-facilitation/